It’s a big week for college graduates but some Cal State Long Beach students are upset over the school’s decision to not allow seniors to walk across the stage or have their names read aloud for graduation.
The issue has inspired thousands of students to sign a petition over the decision.
The graduation ceremony at Cal State Long Beach has historically been held on campus. The pandemic, however, changed everything and the ceremony was shifted to Angel Stadium in Anaheim.
Many students say they’re upset and disappointed over the decision as graduation ceremonies are seen as a rite of passage.
Following several years of hard work, students excited to celebrate their academic achievements by donning a cap and gown while collecting their diplomas are upset they won’t have a chance to do so on campus.
Students said they felt cheated by the decision, which prompted a social media campaign and a petition calling for a return to standard pre-pandemic procedures.
Graduating Cal State Long Beach student Jordan Glickman said this year’s ceremony was confined to the stadium’s dugouts only.
“They rented out an entire stadium and they kept us on the dugout of the field,” said Glickman. “They didn’t even let us sit on the field. They made us sit in the bleachers next to our parents. It’s just heartbreaking.”
Glickman graduated on Tuesday with a Bachelor’s degree but said not only did he not receive his diploma in time, but he didn’t even receive a symbolic empty container.
The students’ names were also not announced on the loudspeaker, he said. In a show of defiance, Glickman veered a little off course during the ceremony.
“I decided I’d run out onto the stage without touching the field as much as possible because I know that’s something the Angels would take seriously,” said Glickman.
Video of the ceremony shows Glickman dashing toward the stage while spectators cheered him on.
The university released a brief statement on the ceremony saying:
“This past Wednesday evening we concluded three amazing days of celebrating our new graduates. We are so proud of our new Beach alumni and look forward to seeing all they will accomplish in the future.”
Glickman said his family flew down from San Francisco for what they didn’t realize would be the “lamest graduation ever.”
Students both past and present said they will keep pushing for future graduation ceremonies to be held with traditional elements.
Editor’s note: This story was updated to reflect the location of CSULB graduation prior to the pandemic.